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Kranz tops in District 5 funding derby

Houston’s $100,000 donation to own campaign places him 2nd
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Bolstered by donations from Placer Vineyards Development Corp. Squaw Valley Ski Corp. and Royal Gorge developers, Placer County Supervisor Bruce Kranz's funding war chest is leading those of his two challengers as the District 5 campaign moves into its final two months. In election filings for a short first quarter ending March 17, Kranz reported receiving $24,800 and holding a cash balance of $92,000 in advance of the June 3 election. Kranz is being challenged for his 5th District seat by Serene Lakes business owner Jennifer Montgomery and Bob Houston, a Meadow Vista resident who owns a Sacramento-based government relations and lobbying firm. Montgomery reported $24,000 in campaign donations during the first quarter and an ending cash balance of $33,300. Houston's ending cash balance was $86,300 “ with a $100,000 loan to his campaign from himself providing all but $711 of his funding sources during the same time period. Kranz said that the donations he has recently received have been coming from throughout his district and he's comfortable with where they're coming from. I'll take money from all legitimate sources, he said. I have to be competitive to run against a self financed millionaire. Kranz said the fact two candidates are running against him has raised the ante. I have to have enough funds to get out my message, he said. Four years ago, Kranz spent $234,000 in a successful bid to usurp veteran supervisor Rex Bloomfield. Among the donations received in the first quarter by the Kranz campaign were $5,000 from Royal Gorge LLC of Redwood City, $5,000 from Roger Wittenberg, CEO of Nevada casino developer Boulder Bay, and $1,000 from the CDF Firefighters Small Contribution PAC of Sacramento. His campaign has also received $10,000 from the Squaw Valley Ski Corp., $5,000 from Placer Vineyards Development Corp. and another $10,000 in 2006 from Royal Gorge developers. Montgomery said she's pleased at the response from contributors to her campaign and surprised that Kranz hadn't raised more at this juncture. As for Houston's $100,000 contribution to his own campaign, Montgomery said: It would be lovely if we could all do that. Montgomery said she wasn't surprised with the amount of funding Kranz was accepting from development interests. This opens my eyes to the need for public financing for election campaigns, Montgomery said. We need to take the moneyed interests out of campaign financing. Montgomery said her list of major donors includes $5,000 from her mother, Nancy Meyer, a former Donner Summit resident now living in Texas, $6,000 from an uncle, Peter Cornell of Los Altos, $2,000 from Susan Hollingshead, a family friend living in Walnut Creek, and $2,500 from Dutch Flat resident and former judge William Newsom. Houston said that while his campaign got the word out a little late, about $10,000 has come in over the past two weeks and fundraisers are being planned. Houston said the lone donation listed on his financial statement was $500 from a long-time colleague Laurie Hansen of Sacramento. The Journal's Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.